Coronavirus support for Sandwell businesses: grants, relief and finance

It goes without saying that this unprecedented time is having a profound impact on businesses. Please know Sandwell Council is working hard to support you wherever and however possible. Do see also our page of general business information to help you during the crisis, and our page on returning safely to work.

So we can support you better, please use this short survey to tell Sandwell Council how COVID-19 has impacted on your business.

This page was last reviewed in August.

Grants and finance for Sandwell businesses

>Go to coronavirus support for Sandwell businesses

Government support

The COVID-19 government guidance for employers and businesses includes advice about short-term business rates relief and the package of government support available to businesses.

The government has launched a coronavirus financial support finder to help you see what loans, tax relief and grants might be available to your business.

Watch videos and register for the free webinars to learn more about the support available to help you deal with the economic impacts of coronavirus.

The government has just announced £20 million of new funding to help smaller businesses recover from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic – as soon as we have more details we will update our pages.

On Greater Birmingham Chamber of Commerce’s homepage, you can click on the blue button at the top right (‘COVID-19 support grid’) and access a chart showing government support for businesses and charities.

The Black Country Chamber of Commerce has launched this Chamber Finance Finder to help you discover the right funding solutions across loans, equity and grants during the COVID-19 crisis.

Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme
Small businesses (fewer than 250 employees) can claim back the cost of providing Statutory Sick Pay (for up to 14 days) to any employee due to coronavirus.

HM Revenue & Customs is holding webinars on the SSP Rebate Scheme, giving employers an overview of the scheme: register for a time that suits you here.

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme means UK employers can access support to continue paying part of the salaries of employees who are on temporary leave (‘furloughed’) during this crisis.

The online service to make a claim was launched on Monday 20 April and the furlough scheme has been extended to October – although the level of funding will be tapered over the next few months (details here).

The government has updated its step-by-step information here, and it publishes at intervals an updated Treasury Direction regarding the technical details of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

There is government information on what will happen after you’ve claimed through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

Explainer: what are ‘furloughed’ workers? The Black Country Chamber of Commerce‘s page of valuable briefing papers – ‘Managing the impact of coronavirus’ – includes one on furlough leave.

Deferring VAT and income tax payments
The government is providing support around deferring VAT and income tax payments. If you can’t pay your business tax bill due to coronavirus you can reach the HMRC Coronavirus Helpline for free on 0800 0159 559. The line is open on Monday to Friday from 8am to 8pm and on Saturday from 8am to 4pm.

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Council support in Sandwell

Here is info on what Sandwell Council is doing to support businesses, including suspending court action for recovery of business rates, and negotiating payments where possible. You can also find the council’s general coronavirus advice page here.

Small Business Grants and
Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grants
The council’s Business Rates team has written to all businesses with a rateable value of £51,000 or less with details of their potential entitlement to Small Business Grants and Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grants.  These businesses have been asked to complete an online form to provide the information needed to establish eligibility for a grant, as well as payment details.  The council is currently considering requests and making payments to eligible businesses but you must complete the form so this can happen.  

Sandwell Council’s Discretionary Business Grant Fund: open for Round 2
Sandwell Council has been inviting applications from local businesses for a new COVID-19 support grant.

The council has £3.362m from the government’s Discretionary Business Grant Fund to allocate to local businesses.

This funding is to support small and micro businesses with high fixed property costs which are not eligible for the other Small Business and Retail, Hospitality & Leisure support grant schemes.

Because it is a discretionary scheme, the criteria used to determine which businesses will get a grant is set by the Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy and a panel of council officers and local business experts. Learn more.
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Government-backed funding

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loans
Coronavirus Business Interruption Loans (CBILS) are now available through participating lenders, delivered through British Business Bank. Here are the answers to SMEs’ frequently asked questions.

The Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS) is for medium-sized and larger businesses (group turnover of more than £45m) affected by the coronavirus outbreak – again, you can find out how to apply through British Business Bank.

Please be aware that from the Thursday 30 July 2020, criteria around the classifications of businesses in difficulty will be changing. 
Click here to view the criteria changes

Bounce Back Loans
Through the government-backed Bounce Back Loans scheme, announced on Monday 27 April, small businesses will be able to borrow between £2,000 and £50,000 at an interest rate of 2.5 per cent, with the government covering interest payable in the first year. British Business Bank lists the accredited lenders.

Future Fund
The Future Fund issues convertible loans to “innovative UK companies with good potential, that typically rely on equity investment and are currently affected by Covid-19”. The scheme is designed by government, delivered by the British Business Bank, and open for applications until the end of September 2020.

Sustainable Innovation Fund
At the end of June, the government unveiled a £200m package to help innovative businesses bounce back. The Sustainable Innovation Fund is designed to help companies recovering from the impact of coronavirus to keep their cutting-edge projects and ideas alive. Learn more here and start an application here.
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Funding support

Audit, tax, advisory and risk firm Crowe UK has a comprehensive page of advice to help businesses manage the impact of coronavirus, with webinars planned to share knowledge and support.

See the latest COVID-19 funding support flowchart from Crowe UK.

GRANTfinder: free funding information for businesses
Think Sandwell is delighted to announce free access to funding information for our local SMEs, at the open4business portal.

The portal allows us to support local businesses to identify funding to succeed and grow.

The portal is updated regularly with new local, regional and national funding announcements and can be easily searched by businesses on the basis of your industry, region and business size. The portal then provides information on how to apply for funding and contact funders directly.
It is quick and easy to register and search, but please get in touch if you need further information.

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Other funding

Please note that Think Sandwell and Sandwell Council cannot endorse or approve any of the links below; we are just sharing the information in case it is helpful to you.

Suited to B2C businesses, Crowdfunder‘s Pay It Forward scheme allows you to sell products and services now to be delivered once the crisis is over.

Prince’s Trust and NatWest Enterprise Relief Fund
Entrepreneurs aged 18 to 30 may be interested in the £5m Prince’s Trust and NatWest Enterprise Relief Fund.

Social Enterprise Support Fund
The Social Enterprise Support Fund provides grants to support social enterprises during COVID-19. It is delivered by five social enterprise support agencies, and made possible thanks to the National Lottery Community Fund. Round 2 applications will open on 13 August.

Alternative finance
This open-source list of links to funding sources and other support for SMEs has been compiled by Montana Corporate Finance in West Bromwich, which says: “Please satisfy yourself as to the fees, charges, interest and/or any other fees that may be payable for each financial product/service from any given Lender/Funder. The list of contacts is supplied in good faith, subject to due diligence, and by no means exhaustive”.

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